Branding the social marketing campaign
Making the complex, simple; the unfamiliar, comfortable.
Social marketing, as professor Andreasen tells us,1,2 is more than just a public service
announcement, public information, or healthcare advertising; it aims not merely to get people to
know more things, but to get people to change the ways they do things.
Unlike public information that seeks to disseminate information—or advertising, where
the ultimate goal is to have people change brands—social marketing is a customer-driven,
research-based process that applies marketing methods to raise awareness, change attitudes and
beliefs, and ultimately, change the behavior of the target audience to improve the quality of their
lives. “The ultimate objective of social marketing is to benefit target individuals or society and
not the marketer.” 3
Branding—an important and powerful component of the social marketing process—is
one such method from commercial marketing adapted by social marketers to fulfill their mission.
Branding is much more than just a logo or name-recognition, as is well known by tobacco and
alcohol manufacturers. Branding is the emotion-laden expectation the audience has of the
service or product the brand represents, adding meaning and value to the campaign by
integrating cultural and social factors of the targeted audience. Branding makes complex
concepts simple and becomes a stimulus for a new behavior, more so when the “product” itself is
hard to see.
Branding in social marketing campaigns is especially powerful with younger audiences,
facilitating acceptance through common, plain language and visuals not necessarily associated
with the government agencies that sponsor them.
Powerful and effective as it is, branding has its own inherent risks, which must be well
understood to be avoided successfully.
1. “Social Marketing for Latinos” 2003 Workshop, Georgetown University, June 16-20, 2003, Washington DC.
2. “Marketing Social Change—Changing Behavior to Promote Health, Social Development, and the Environment”,
Alan R. Andreasen, Jossey-Bass, 1995